The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday aimed at “ghost guns,” proposing to close a loophole that allows people to avoid background checks as they purchase guns without serial numbers. DOJ Secretary Eric Holder said the proposed rule would clarify that any person who engages in the business of manufacturing or dealing in firearms must be licensed and conduct background checks even if the weapons are sold privately rather than through commercial dealers.
What’s really the matter
The Department of Justice has proposed a change to an existing law that allows people to manufacture or assemble guns without serial numbers, to close what it sees as a loophole, and prevent the sale of firearms without background checks. The DOJ issued the proposal on Friday, following Vice President Joe Biden’s promise last week at the White House Summit on Gun Violence Prevention that he would issue new executive actions soon.
The DOJ has proposed a major crackdown on ghost guns, in response to Vice President Joe Biden’s pledge to take action against these firearms which are untraceable and allowed for undetectable gun crimes. The DOJ announced Friday that it will close a loophole that allows people who purchase weapons without serial numbers to avoid background checks. This proposal would require the registration of all firearms with the ATF and criminalize the sale of unfinished receivers, as well as other measures designed to curb the availability of unregistered or “ghost” guns
The DOJ to Biden
The DOJ statement said that ghost guns are typically made by gun owners who purchase unfinished receivers online, then assemble them or have someone else do it for them in a process known as an “unfinished receiver.” Ghost guns can be easily purchased with no background checks and without serial numbers which makes the firearm untraceable either to federal authorities or law enforcement agencies when used during criminal activity – meaning they cannot be traced back to their place of origin.
As Vice President Biden himself put it: “These weapons are not being brought down from some cliff somewhere.” The new proposals will make sure this loophole is closed so firearms like these aren’t able to slip through cracks in our system anymore. We intend on taking significant action against the person who is doing this type of stuff.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is the good guys with guns.”
– Vice President Joe Biden, at New York’s Police Academy in Queens Village.
Ghost Gun without Serial number
A ghost gun can be easily purchased online – and it’s not just what you might expect to find here; anyone from your average criminal looking for an untraceable weapon to commit crimes or terrorists who may want one too will take advantage of this loophole. Unfortunately, there are no background checks in place when buying firearms without serial numbers which means these weapons cannot be traced back to their origin placing law enforcement agencies and federal authorities in danger as they try to investigate firearm offenses committed by criminals.
Our department will not able to recognize the gun or determine the seller.
The DOJ proposed a rule to close the loophole, requiring background checks for people who want to buy ghost guns and making it illegal under federal law to manufacture or possess them. This is part of Vice President Joe Biden’s pledge in January at New York’s Police Academy that he would take executive action on gun control if Congress failed to act (something they didn’t do).
Ghost guns are not as well-known as other loopholes like straw purchases where an individual buys firearms from another buyer so they can skirt any screenings intended for those with criminal records or mental illness preventing them from buying weapons themselves; however, these guns have been used in mass shootings before – most recently during this week’s shooting spree in California.
“We are committed to taking commonsense steps to address the epidemic of gun violence that takes the lives of too many people in our communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
“Criminals and others barred from owning a gun should not be able to exploit a loophole to evade background checks and to escape detection by law enforcement. This proposed rule would help keep guns out of the wrong hands and make it easier for law enforcement to trace guns used to commit violent crimes, while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans. Although this rulemaking will solve only one aspect of the problem, we have an obligation to do our part to keep our families and our neighborhoods safe from gun violence.”
“They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers … but they’ve passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence,” Biden said at a Rose Garden ceremony in April alongside Garland. “Enough prayers. Time for some action.”
“This new rule will help stop a surging menace of homemade, untraceable deadly weapons. It’s a historic step in applying Presidential power against gun violence,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a leading gun reform advocate, wrote on Twitter.
“This rule will not stop anyone who is legally allowed to own a firearm from purchasing one or building one. It will simply allow law enforcement to trace crime guns & take action against those who are using this loophole to stockpile weapons they are not legally allowed to have,” he added.